Though he calls President Obama's plan to withdraw the 30,000 U.S. "surge" troops from Afghanistan by the summer of 2012 "substantial" and "positive," the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the withdrawal of the remaining troops to stay through 2014 is too slow.
"I think I will be arguing that it ... should be faster after the summer of 2012," Democratic Sen. Carl Levin told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports," citing the "positive" conditions on the ground.
The Michigan senator recently called on the president to bring home 15,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
The Afghan army has grown but has also become stronger because "there's been a lot more partnering and training of the Afghan army with us and with other coalition forces," he said.
He also stated that "the Taliban's worst nightmare" is a faster drawdown, because the terror group could no longer use foreign involvement in Afghanistan as a "propaganda tool for recruiting."
But Levin realizes there is still a long way to go, and recent comments by Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- including his statement that NATO-led coalition forces are in Afghanistan "for their own purposes, for their own goals, and they’re using our soil for that" -- cause setbacks.
Levin told Mitchell "those comments were highly distrurbing, and when I go to Afghanistan in the next couple weeks, I will do what the president did and that's to tell President Karzai directly that those kind of comments play right into the hands of the Taliban -- which is the common enemy."